UK fails to keep its promise to welcome foreign artistes

They enrich cultural environment, generate awareness on customs — welcome them
11th July 2011: The UK has clearly failed to keep its promise to welcome foreign artists.
Only recently, the UK Border Agency had categorically asserted that creative artists from across the world are welcome to come and perform in the UK.

But, it now emerges the stringent border controls are keeping them at bay.

It is now evident that an increasing number of foreign artists, ranging from grassroots fringe performers to world-renowned stars, are ruling UK out of their upcoming travel plans due to complexities with obtaining visas.

All this indicates that the welcome call has largely been limited to papers and not translated into reality.

Responding to media coverage about the points-based system’s effect on visits to the UK by world-class artists and musicians, a UKBA spokesperson had said: `Creative artists from across the world are welcome to come and perform in the UK.

`As part of our commitment to the industry, we work with organisers of international events to ensure they are aware of the application process and are able to help facilitate urgent cases. However, as with any visitors to the UK, we expect individuals to meet our entry requirements.’

The UK must realise the artists are sensitive people. They are more concerned about their art, than legal procedures and formalities. They need to be accommodated, instead of being compelled to fill in the papers and run hither and dither in search for documentary evidence to support their bonafides.

The fact that they enrich the cultural environment, generate awareness about the customs and the traditions prevailing in other countries, and add to the element of diversity, can just not be disputed by anyone.

On one hand the UK believes in encouraging the students and others to undertake cultural exchange programmes with other countries. On the other hand, it is depriving its nationals the opportunity to learn more about the foreign lands by not leaving their hometowns.

There is another angel to the entire issue. Immigrants are here; and are here to stay. The UK may very well take care of them. A visit by an artiste from their native land makes them feel less home sick as they bring along with them the whiff of home, its customs and its memories.

For once, lets think of the immigrants also and welcome the foreign artistes in the real sense.        


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